New book about Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.  out Tuesday

I don't like writing in books. Even kitchen bonded – tastes wrong. Also, later you still have to find the page where the underlined section appears. Better to stick Post-It notes to the parts you want to remember later.

So when I pulled down an early copy of Jonathan Eig's “King: A Life,” which came out Tuesday, I smiled. The pages are studded with notes of magenta and orange. It's been five months since I read it, before the King's holiday last January. Even though I knew the book was interesting, I forgot about it How interesting.

It's so catchy that I don't even have to check the quote to quickly remember the stunning details, like for the first 20 years of his life he used “Mike King”. That one fact alone may overturn your entire view of what Martin Luther King Jr. was like. Not a young preacher, waiting for the greatness he knows is coming. But it was just Mike, just an ordinary guy, maybe more sensitive than most people, who threw himself from a second floor window when his grandmother died. Twice.

A very disabled man – he bites his nails, loves to play billiards, loves to drink. King had a habit of plagiarizing, at school, in later speeches and books. He cheated in writing, and he cheated on his wife.

Not a flattering portrait of the King, except for the civil rights bit. Yet one that is celebrated as the new standard King biography.

“Incredible,” wrote The Economist.

“The most captivating story of King's life in a generation,” wrote the Washington Post.

Why? Because life is a mess. And those who defend the King's dream of a country where people are judged, not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, know this has to do with facing reality, not concocting self-flattering mythology.

“Great men,” wrote Eig, quoting Emerson, “have not been braggarts and buffoons.”

By the way about. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came to Illinois Friday, and spoke in Peoria, part of his sputtering, if not stillborn, presidential campaign. DeSantis strikes again in “wake up” – a scary term for admitting that we live in a society built on racism, or that LBGTQ people exist.

“Because wake up represents the war against truth, we have no choice but to wage a wake up war and that is what we are doing in Florida,” said DeSantis.

The Eig book presents a different type of wake.

“We Negroes are fearless now,” said an Alabama grocery worker named Carrie Allen in 1963. “We have woken up.”

DeSantis has tried to rid Florida schools and libraries of books similar to Eig's, books that touch on issues of race and sexuality in clear and honest ways.

Why? Because 1) being fascist, they need someone to demonize; 2) as fascists, they want to rule over all elements of life, including what books you can read; and 3) being fascists, they prefer their history to be watered down and sweetened.

Read “King: A Life” and you will see why they are so afraid of books. The history of Eig will not remain silent in the past.

“Most white Americans … reject the notion that war was caused by slavery,” Eig wrote. “They treat North and South as noble American warriors. Black people are, at best, figures in American history books.”

The whole trans toilet lid is just an updated version of a much older fixation.

“I could barely see a Negro using the same restroom I used,” explained a resident of Birmingham in 1963. “Not that I thought I was the Almighty. … It's just a small matter of cleanliness and morals and whatnot.”

Reading Eig's book, it becomes clear how we live in the same racist society, slightly changed and updated. In some ways, today was worse. Later, governors in the South vowed to abolish public schools rather than integrate them. Now we have school vouchers, so white parents can get out of the public school system with taxpayers' money.

This book defies summary, except to say that one key lesson is, you don't have to be superhuman to fight for social justice. You don't have to be perfect, or flawless. None. You don't always have to be successful. Nobody does. All you have to do is always try, and never give up. Because the power against you will definitely never be.